Simple/Elaborate | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio have extended their July challenge into August, and as a result, there’s no August picture. However, a while ago, they’d published their intended set of pictures for the whole year. Since I’m already done with July, I thought I’d try my hand at August from that earlier set, though I have no idea of the painting’s history. (That would have been an interesting read.)

ABS Challenge Aug 2018 Inspiration

August’s picture is of a woman bedecked with jewelry. What caught my eye was how each component in the adornments was pretty simple, but all put together, the effect is that of showy elaborateness. Now that’s a good idea to work on!

I didn’t want to go too simple, though, so for my beads, I thought of trying out a polymer clay technique that’s still a bit of a challenge to me – the Sutton Slice. The basic premise is to (a) press well-conditioned clay onto a texture sheet, (b) slice away all the clay that is not in the recesses of the sheet so you’re left with a clay pattern in the recesses, (c) press a clay sheet of a different color onto this clay so that the clay pattern sticks to this sheet, (d) admire your textured pattern. The process went much better this time – at least the slicing did – which I’m incredibly happy about. It did take me a while, though.

Simple/Elaborate earrings | Anita

I flattened the texture just a little bit, and made barrel beads with this sheet. The pattern cracked (as expected) while I curved the sheet to form the beads, and that gives a weathered effect.

After baking the beads, I applied a couple of layers of Vintaj Glaze onto them. When I’d experimented with this glaze last time, it’d turned a bit tacky, but that didn’t seem to be the case this time. Maybe it’s because I applied thinner layers now and waited a longer time between layers? More experiments are needed for this one.

For the earrings, I’d thought of using a couple of glass beads that I own, but they didn’t fit the clay beads. After a lot of trial and error, I zeroed in on some metal components, including wire. Just some tweaks to the components – bead caps facing outward vs. inward makes a lot of difference, and so does the addition of a basic spiral of wire – did justice to my idea of simple contributing to elaborate.

That’s it! How do you like the earrings?

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Inspired Art Deco Earrings

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature beautiful artwork every month, and invite their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by this artwork. July’s inspiration is Art forms in Nature, Plate 85, Ascidiae, by Ernst Haeckel.
ABS Challenge July 2018 Inspiration

Haeckel’s work was interesting indeed, and what blew me away was his incredibly stylized representations of animals – instant inspiration, indeed! Some stamps from my stash quickly came to mind, and in the end, I picked a filigree motif stamp to create art deco style earrings.

Sea-Inspired Art Deco Earrings | Anita

I mixed blue-green polymer clay since the beautiful sea creatures in the picture were inspiring as well. The beads themselves are simple stamped beads, with chalks and Perfect Pearls added in on some areas to accentuate the motif. I baked the beads on a curved surface to dome them slightly. During the bake, one of the beads chipped – I have no idea how – and later, I had to stick it back on using TLS and rebake the beads. All’s well in the end, though.

I debated about adding some gloss, or even a subtle shine, to the beads, but nothing really felt right, so finally, I just left them as is. The rest of the process involved incorporating some glass beads on wire to turn the clay beads into earrings.

So that’s my quick, inspired earring pair!

Kaleidoscopic Earrings

Sometimes, an idea strikes you, and regardless of whether you know how to execute it or not, it persists. That’s just what happened this month when a concept for a pair of earrings popped into my mind, which would work for not one but two challenges! I didn’t know if it would work out, but I did know I had to try. So these are the earrings I made using polymer clay, and they’re mostly true to how I envisioned them in my mind. That means happy times!

Kaleidoscopic Polymer Clay Earrings | Anita

This project also marks my attempting canes after a long hiatus from when I tested the caning waters. I used simple colors and simple patterns for the cane – nothing too ambitious until I get better at it. 😉 The cane turned out pretty usable, but there’s some distortion from the reduction, and I’ll need to figure out how to avoid that. The slicing also resulted in some distortion, and I learned later that I should let it cool well before I start slicing. (Lesson to remember for the future.)

As for the making of the beads – I tried out a different hollow bead concept since I knew I was going to use cane slices on the bead. I covered large, metallic beads in brown-black Premo clay – also ensuring that I poked holes in the clay to match the ones in the underlying beads. I baked the beads, and then sliced them into hemispheres so I could remove the metallic beads. I then used some liquid Sculpey to adhere the halves back together, also sticking the cane slices in a kaleidoscopic pattern along the join using more liquid clay. Another round of baking, and the beads were done!

Well not fully done, of course. I wanted to glaze them, and tried out some Vintaj Glaze for the first time. I loved it when I initially applied it, but after a day or two, I find that it’s a bit sticky, so I guess it’s not viable.

Anyway, continuing with the earrings – now I only had to add in other beads into the mix. I used beads and headpins to make simple embellishments revolving around the color scheme of the focal beads, put them all together, and voila! we have super-lightweight earrings.


With these earrings, I’m participating in these challenges –

  • Art Bead Scene Studio’s June monthly challenge, which features an oil painting, Les Ibis, by Jean Metzinger. Jean’s role in Cubism inspired me to go with the cane-based concept, and the colors and the nature theme definitely contributed.

ABS Challenge June 2018 Inspiration

  • Earrings Everyday’s We’re All Ears challenge, which features Kaleidoscopes as the inspiration for June. And who hasn’t been mesmerized by those? 🙂 I used mirroring of cane slices for the pattern on the beads, inspired by those in kaleidoscopes. I’m also pretty excited since it’s my first time participating in this challenge! 🙂 This is a blog hop, so do check out the entries from other participants by clicking on the Linky Tools link below.

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Peekaboo Pendant | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. May’s inspiration is a piece, Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli.

ABS Challenge May 2018 Inspiration

This month, so far, has not been very good for me health-wise, and I was contemplating not making any jewelry and not participating in challenges, since there were (a) zero ideas popping up in my head and (b) I didn’t know if I’d be physically up to making anything. And yesterday, just like that, something clicked, and a concept that I’d wanted to try out for a while came together with some color choices and ideas that might just work for this challenge. (Probably.) I was feeling better, too, so with some breaks, I just might manage it. (And obviously, I did. 😉 )

The polymer clay pendant that I made has multiple components, each of which required some quick individual baking before they all came together. It can be worn right side up or upside down (so there are really two right sides 😉 ), which is an added bonus that I hadn’t anticipated!

PolyClay Peekaboo Pendant - ABS Challenge May 2018

Right side up…

PolyClay Peekaboo Pendant - ABS Challenge May 2018

And now the other side 🙂

The inside – a bead

The inside is a flat bead whose color contrasts with the outside. The color was originally a coral red from some scrap pieces that I has lying around, which I changed by using chalks. To make this bead, I used a clay sheet from 3rd thickest setting on my pasta machine. I stamped a texture on it, cut it out to a rough triangular shape, and then brushed in various chalks on it. Next was a quick bake of 15min. After baking, I lightly sanded the piece to make the colors work better with the texture.

The outside – a dome

The outside is a curved, hole-filled dome. I used a black clay sheet, again from 3rd largest thickness on my pasta machine. I don’t own small graduated cutters, so I improvised. I used successively larger sizes of ball stylus tools to shape and enlarge ‘pits’, scraping out excess clay from the pits from time to time. This works fine as long as care is taken to not accidentally tear the sheet while working on the pits. (I had to restart a couple of times.)

Once done, I cut out a larger triangle following the shape of the earlier bead. I then stamped wavy patterns on the sheet with gold Perfect Pearls. I shaped this piece on a curved surface and baked for another 15min.

The back, with a bail

On a clay sheet from 2nd thickest setting on my pasta machine, I stamped a random texture, and cut the sheet following the contour of the outside dome.

For the bail, I first cut a length of 16-gauge wire, curved it, and bent it at the top and bottom so that the bent sections can serve as anchors. I poked a hole each near the top and the bottom of the clay sheet (to correspond to the start of the bends on the curved section of the bail wire.) I then inserted the wire so the curved section is on the textured side of the sheet, and the bent sections sit on the other (inner) side. I baked this for 15min.

The assembly

I set the pieces in place, adhering them to one another using TLS. For the edge, I used a strip of clay of 3rd smallest thickness on my machine. I then baked the assembly for 25min.


If I try this concept again, I’d like to make the edge strip lie neater by ensuring that the dome component has no holes near the edges. Also, I’ll probably need to ensure a better fit of the edges of individual components by carving those edges after the quick bakes.

So that’s the pendant! It might seem like a lot of baking, but the results seem worth it, don’t they?

Bohemian Earrings | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. April’s inspiration is a piece, Disks of Newton (Study for “Fugue in Two Colors”), by František Kupka.

ABS Challenge Apr 2018 Inspiration

The colors instantly drew me in, of course, but so did the concentric circles. Would I want to incorporate both into a project? As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to come up with many jewelry ideas involving a lot of colors that would be ‘me’. So I picked the concentric circles as my inspiration, and these are the earrings I made –

Polymer Clay Bohemian Earrings - ABS Challenge Apr 2018 | Anita

As usual, I started out with something in mind, and my process took me in a completely different direction. 🙂 My original idea was to arrange strips of clay scraps in sections of concentric circles. To my credit, I actually did that. And I didn’t quite like how it looked.

I then went in a different direction. I used a texture sheet that most closely resembled concentric circles, and chose strategic points in the circle-filled layers to impress the clay. I cut out two circles from the layers to make into beads for earrings.

The indigo sections in the circles gave me another idea, and I applied Perfect Pearls to give a metallic shine to the main area of the beads, so the blue provides a deep patina look. Beautiful! I poked holes at the top and bottom of each bead, and baked them on a curved surface for some dimension.

I wanted the focus to be on the focal beads so I kept the earrings simple, using wooden beads and glass beads as accessories.

PolyClay Appliqué, and Beaded Bezels

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. March’s inspiration is a piece, Red Water Lily of Southern India, by Marianne North.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Inspiration

Now here’s a piece of art that captured me in more ways than one. A beautiful, colorful nature scene; set in Southern India from where I hail; painted by a respected female biologist and botanical artist. That’s just too much inspiration! 😉

I allowed a few days for my initial excitement to settle down, and chose the colors, the flowers, and the Indian-ness to work with. I decided to make a large Polymer Clay bead with flowers created using the appliqué technique, and depending on how it turned out, use it with some beadwork.

The flowers and dragonflies in the picture capture our attention, but it would be a dull scene without the reedy background. So I made my background have a texture akin to reeds, using a texture plate. I brushed some chalks and Perfect Pearls over it for accent.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Polymer Clay Appliqué Pendant with Beaded Bezel

I then crafted some layered flowers using the appliqué technique. Wow, it’s been a while since I’d tried it, but I love how it turned out! It also becomes better with practice. Can you tell which my first flower is and which my last one is? 😉 I added some reddish Perfect Pearls to accentuate the flowers as well. As expected, it doesn’t show up much in the pictures I clicked. (I only managed to capture the background shine with some difficulty.)

I baked the bead, and felt it would look good as a small pendant with a beaded bezel around it. I made the bezel using right angle weave this time, rather than peyote stitch which I’d usually go for. I used 8/0 beads for the bezel. Of course, I had to fill in the gaps in the stitch with smaller (11/0) beads.

The bezel looked a little too ‘strict’ and un-fun, so I risked adding a branched fringe aligned with the flower bunch. I also added another outer layer of independent right angle weave stitches for a funner touch. 🙂 I love the traditional/modern vibe that it gives out. Keeping with the theme, instead of adding a traditional necklace, I opted for a metallic-silver bead sideways to double as the bail, and a matching chain. Love the result! ❤

How do you like my attempt? And how does the picture inspire your art?

ABS Challenge – Feb – Star Lovers | Jewelry

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature beautiful artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. February’s inspiration is a piece, Star Lovers, by Warwick Goble.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Inspiration

I’d first made beads for the challenge, which I detailed in my previous post, and now, it’s time for some jewelry with these beads.


Jewelry #1

I made this set inspired by the main colors from the picture, adding to the color of the beads. As usual, I had a different idea at first, but the making process took me in a different direction. (Mostly because the intersection of compatible colors from the clay, from the ones in the picture, and from the beads in my stash is a small, difficult one.) I’m not disappointed with the results, though.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Earrings #1

I used quite a few faux beads of gunmetal color as accessories to the polymer beads, most of them as connectors for the beads in the necklace. The wire work is just a basic eye loop plus wire securing by winding it at both ends. I combined some of the faux beads to form bunches for an element of fun, since the color scheme began to look (and feel) a bit monotonous.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Necklace

The gunmetal beads look lighter or darker depending on the amount of ambient light, and of course, I clicked these pictures at different times of the day. (I like them better when they’re lighter.)


Jewelry #2

I made these earrings inspired by the flowing elements in the picture, with a couple of secondary colors added in.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Earrings #2

In each earring, I connected two triangular beads so the flow of the swirling patterns in them becomes additive. The placement of the jump rings, with the silver metallic beads and creamish faux pearl beads, adds to the flow of the pattern.


That’s it for today!

Overall, the beads were fun to make, but the jewelry was a bit tedious because of difficulties finding stuff that works with the color and shape of the beads. Isn’t that what a challenge is for, though? 😉